Peter Buckland’s remarks at the “No to Nestlé” forum

Concerns about Nestlé Waters, a large multi-national corporation, creating a plastic water bottling plant in Centre County along Spring Creek are heating up.

From my reading of the Forum, there appeared to be general concerns of corporatocracy and regulatory capture. Corporatocracy is defined as  “a society or system that is governed or controlled by corporations.”

Regulatory capture is more complicated.  According to Emory Law, regulatory capture is not illegal acts, corruption or control over governments. Instead,

Regulatory capture is characterized by the regulator’s attitude, not the regulated entity’s actions. A regulator is “captured” when he is in a constant state of “being persuaded”: persuaded based on a persuader’s identity rather than an argument’s merits. Regulatory capture is reflected in a surplus of passivity and reactivity, and a deficit of curiosity and creativity. It is evidenced by a body of commission decisions or non-decisions—about resources, procedures, priorities, and policies, where what the regulated entity wants has more influence than what the public interest requires….

If regulatory capture is a state of being, assisted and sustained by the captive, what roles are played by others? Regulatory capture is enabled by those who ignore it, tolerate it, accept it or encourage it: … feed[ing] a forest where private interest trees grow tall, while the public’s needs stay small.

 

Issues of lack of governmental transparency, water extraction, costs, and many other concerns have been raised at the “No to Nestlé” forum on March 14, 2018, in letters to the editor, on Facebook, and at the public forum held by Nestle on March 12, 2018.

This speech by Peter Buckland was given at a community “No to Nestlé” forum on March 14, 2018. It presents his concerns about lack of governmental transparency that may have resulted from actions related to what could be considered as regulatory capture by a large multi-national corporation.

Peter is in the Forest

The No to Nestle forum was held on March 14th at CPI. Thank you to the individuals who brought this together, the staff at CPI who helped them set up the meeting, and the organizations who were present: the newly-formed Concerned Citizens of Pleasant Gap, Clearwater Conservancy, Food and Water Watch, Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club Moshannon, and Trout Unlimited. You can watch a video of resident Courtney Morris speaking and read coverage in the CDT. More to come. My remarks (without some ad lib elaborations) are below.

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NO TO NESTLE BATHTUB Picture courtesy of Meg Weidenhof

Thanks for being here tonight. My name is Peter Buckland. I’m a lifetime Pennsylvanian. My first home was on Purdue Mountain but I’ve lived most of my years in the Centre Region where I’ve been active on community and environmental issues. I also serve in local government. Whatever I say tonight, I need to…

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Does that sound fair? I think not Nestle.

Written by Peter Buckland on his “Peter Is in the Forest” blog:

Does that sound fair? I think not Nestle.

I just did a back-of-the-envelope calculation about the proposed Nestle bottling plant in Spring Township. On plastic alone it’s not pretty.

Just so that you know, I’m interested in the systemic impacts and the ethical issues. So far, I’ve been looking into Nestle’s business practices (awful), what economic development should be for the region(regenerative), Clearwater Conservancy’s statement on the matter (not positive), and the way that businesses shape us. All this should make us realize that the environmental, economic, governmental, and social impacts of a Nestle plant are beyond bad. And if you examine it systemically, it’s not just Spring Township or the Centre County. It’s bigger than that.

It’s plastic.

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If Nestle bottles 432,000 gallons a day from the Spring Township Water Authority into 16 oz bottles that’ll be about 3.5 million plastic bottles a day. In a rosy scenario, 20% will be recycled. But if we consider the balance of all things, it’s really bad. And Nestle, the extractor, has to pay for none of it. But moving on…

Where will they go?

It’ll result in 2.8 million bottles going to landfills, incinerators, into our streams, the Chesapeake Bay, and the ocean every day. Make that an annual number and your brain will melt. In a Dr. Evil moment says this: “We will put just shy of 1.3 billion total bottles and around a billion into pure waste. Mwahahahahahahah!”

Right now, every local township has to deal with a Chesapeake Pollution Reduction Program Why? Because we have to deal with runoff, nutrient loading, and so on.  But you know what…Nestle doesn’t. And none of us have to deal with plastics. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not good enough. Let’s step up.

Nestle doesn’t have to show that their products–plastics and withdrawals–are held to the same standard that farmers, sewer treatment plants, or regular landowners are. They get a free pass while they sell our water on a “free market.” Does that sound fair? I think not.

The loss of community sovereignty, the assured compromise of an exceptional value trout stream, and a handful of jobs. Say no to Nestle.

 

Nestle doesn’t care about communities. We do.

The Spring Creek Watershed Commission is planning on holding a public forum on Nestle’s bottling plant being considered for location in Spring and Benner Townships here in Centre County, PA. Time and place for this forum have yet to be determined. The Commission can’t take sides on this issue but they can provide a platform for the public to air their concerns/support on both sides of this issue.

I’ll add a comment re time and place of the public forum once that is set up.

Peter is in the Forest

The people of Spring and Benner Townships have a difficult decision to make. Should the Nestle Corporation be allowed to build a bottling plant that would extract over 400,000 of gallons of water from the aquifer each day and sell it in single-use plastic bottles? The importance of this decision can’t be overstated. Given the public relations blitz the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County has put out there on Nestle’s behalf, I think we need to take a look behind the curtain.

According to Forbes, Nestle was worth just shy of $230 billion last year. They are among the world’s largest food and water companies. That monetary worth, though, has come at tremendous costs to communities across the United States.

On the arid Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation in Cabazon, California, Nestle has continued to pump water during a record-setting drought. The tribe has little to no data to…

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The hydra returns as the Toll Brothers win in Commonwealth Court

This is a cautionary tale from a township just south of where I live. FYI, the Slab Cabin Run that is mentioned below feeds into Spring Creek which runs right through Bellefonte where I live.

Peter is in the Forest

map_of_ferguson_township2c_centre_county2c_pennsylvania_highlighted Ferguson Township, depicted in red, is a Home Rule municipality in southern Centre County. We are about 18,000 people on about 50 square miles of mixed urban, suburban, agricultural, and forested land. The Cottages development discussed in this post would be located along the central eastern border of the township with State College borough. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

As you may know, a Centre County Court of Common Pleas judge’s ordered that a lower court decision be vacated regarding The Cottages, a Toll Brothers development in Ferguson Township where I’m a supervisor. The original lower court decision found that the previous board had “committed an error of law” in regard to the planned residential development (PRD) plan for the Cottages in November 2015.

As the Centre Daily Times reports, “A group of residents filed an appeal against the board” and Judge Grine ruled last July that the supervisors had “committed an error of law…

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What to Do This Week of Jan 29, 2017: Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

As promised, I am once again reblogging Jennifer Hofman’s weekly “To Do” list.  This week’s actions focus on

  • opposing the religious discrimination and immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday.
  • opposing the cabinet nominations of Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, and Tom Price
  • supporting free speech rights to assemble and protest as guaranteed under the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution
  • supporting access to health care for all
  • supporting planet earth’s water and endangered species
  • supporting full statehood rights for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

And on an aside note, Jennifer positively notes that the White House petition for Trump to release his tax records that I urged all of my readers to sign onto a little over a week ago has now received more signatures than any other petition ever posted on the WhiteHouse.gov website. As of 4:50 pm on January 30, 2017, 443,909 people have signed this petition.

So read on, make your calls, and enjoy the good news.

What to Do This Week of Jan 29, 2017

Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience

We have 21 months to mid-term elections. Fired up?

The intention of this weekly document is to make clear suggestions for action backed by well-considered research. If an issue doesn’t affect you, consider whether you would support this issue on behalf of other Americans and act accordingly. Although these topics have been well researched, they are subject to human error. Please do your own research!

Did someone send this to you? Sign up for this weekly checklist here:

http://jenniferhofmann.com/home/weekly-action-checklist-democrats-independents-republicans-conscience/

I believe I can make a difference.

Print out the Americans of Conscience Action Worksheet and make a plan.

I believe in equal rights for all Americans.

Action 1: Oppose religious discrimination by contacting the White House.

Call: The WH comment line is closed, however, use:

Email: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Script: I oppose the executive order banning entry to the US by green card-carrying residents, dual passport-holding residents, legal citizens, and vetted, peaceful refugees. This action is unconstitutional and unamerican.

Tweet: .@realDonaldTrump How foolish it looks for a POTUS to prevent legal residents + peaceful immigrants from entering the USA.

(A note on the tweet: Shame motivates narcissists, not criticism.)

Action 2: Defend the rights of legal immigrants to our country.

Donate to the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/

Action 3: Ask your elected officials to publicly oppose this executive order.

Call: Your three MoCs (1 representative and 2 senators) (lookup)

Script: Hi! I am a constituent from _ZIP code _ and oppose the executive order on banning refugees and legal residents. Can you tell me if _MoC’s name_ has publicly opposed this action? If not, can you tell me when s/he will?

I believe in a government with qualified, trustworthy leadership.

Oppose these cabinet appointees

Call: Your two senators.

Script: Hi! I’m a constituent from _ZIP code_ calling about cabinet appointees. I know that five is a lot to oppose, but I believe the following people are unfit to lead: Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, and Tom Price. Will you let me know how _my senator_ plans to vote on these appointees?

I believe in my Constitutional right to free speech.

Oppose legislation that risks criminalizing your constitutional right to peaceful protest if you live in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, North Dakota, or Washington state. (source) (source) (source) (source) (source) (source)

Action 1: Call. Look up your state legislators’ numbers at openstates.org

Script: Hi! I am a constituent from _town_ calling to oppose new legislation that threatens my constitutional right to peacefully protest. Can you tell me where my representative stands on this issue?

Action 2: Share. If you know anyone in the states above, ask them to make these calls.

I believe in quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

Oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act

Call: Your representative (not senators–for now) (lookup)

Script: Hi! I’m a constituent from _ZIP code_ and I support the Affordable Care Act. If the ACA is repealed, it will affect me personally. For example, (share what your life will be like without it, i.e., I take prescriptions I can’t afford, my child has a chronic condition, we would have to sell our home, etc.). Can you tell me where _rep’s name_ stands on this issue?

Sign up for health insurance

Conservatives are second-guessing a quick repeal of this law (source), so it’s more important than ever to show them you value the ACA.

Sign up by Tuesday at healthcare.gov. Experts say coverage is likely [to] remain valid for the rest of 2017 (source).

I believe in creating a healthy planet for future generations.

Action 1: Support the water protectors at Standing Rock.

If you are able, contribute to mounting legal fees after months of arrests (source).

Click here: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf

Action 2: Oppose the wall at the Mexican border.

Its construction would be threaten 111 endangered species (source).

Call: Your representative (not senators–yet) (lookup)

Script: Hi, I’m a constituent from _ZIP code_ and would like to know if _elected official_ has publicly opposed building a wall on the Mexico border. I’m concerned not just about the expense to Americans and relations with Mexico, but for the numerous endangered species this project would harm.

I believe in a vote for every American.

Support Americans citizens without representation.

For years, residents of Puerto Rico and Washington, DC have been seeking statehood and a vote. They need your help.

Email: Your MoCs (your representative and both senators) (lookup)

Write: Use your new postcards and stamps.

Script: I am a constituent from _ZIP_ and support statehood for the over 4 million US citizens in Washington DC and Puerto Rico. All citizens deserve a voice and representation.

Note: Send e/mail so that phone lines are open for pressing issues.

Recommended reading

Useful, in-depth articles I find while I’m reading obsessively. You’re welcome.

Storytelling: How to talk so Members of Congress will listen, by Rachna Choudhry (Click to read.)

Deliberate action: Step two of the Trump Resistance Plan, by Stephen Harper (Click to read.)

“Christofascism:” Understanding the minds of zealots, by Kieryn Darkwater (Click to read.)

Self-care: How to stay outraged without losing your mind, by Mirah Curzer (Click to read.)

This is #NotNormal

It is not normal for a president to target investigations on states that didn’t vote for him (source). It is not normal to lie about which people are to blame for not winning the popular vote (source). A normal president accepts election results and, after winning, focuses on his or her leadership.

It is not normal for a president to ban a federal department from communicating with the public (source), to force them to hide data (source), nor pressure a department to lie on his behalf (source). A normal president welcomes information from government experts to assist in his or her leadership.

It is not normal to deny entry to legal residents with all required documents (source) nor invade their privacy (source). A normal president respects privacy and allows legal residents to travel freely.

Good news

Thank goodness. Couldn’t you use some good news right now?

One less conflict of interest: Direct references to the first lady’s product lines have been removed from the White House website (source).

Republican heroes: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) advocates for an “intelligence-led approach” to securing the Mexico border, not a wall (source).

Integrity matters: A whitehouse.gov petition for the president to release his tax returns is receiving more votes than any petition ever–over 380,000 so far (source).

Truth to power: The Tohono O’odham Nation publicly opposes a wall through their tribal lands on the border of Mexico (source).

Fighting fake news: Google and Facebook are starting to take measures to prevent the spread of fake news (source) (source) (source).

Reigning in bullies: Ada Morales’ rights as a US citizen were upheld when a federal court ruled her 24-hour detention by US immigration unconstitutional (source).

Americans showing up for each other: “When the International Refugee Assistance Project put out a call for lawyers to help new arrivals in danger of being turned away, it received 3,000 volunteers in four hours” (source).

Please keep taking care of yourself. If we get tired, he wins.

Housekeeping

Final action

If you found this checklist useful, please spread the word!

Tweet: It’s easy to feel hopeless. This checklist helps me get engaged: https://goo.gl/8Vvi7I

Email and Facebook: This awesome checklist helps me take action and make a positive difference: https://goo.gl/8Vvi7I

We’re stronger together!